Did you know that people with diabetes have a higher risk of tooth and gum problems?
The good news is prevention is in your hands. Learn what you’re up against, and then take charge of your dental health.
It’s National Diabetes Week 12th – 18th July and this year’s focus is on supporting the emotional and mental health of people living with diabetes. Your smile plays a large role in not only your confidence levels but also your overall health and wellness which is why keeping your teeth and gums healthy is so vital.
If you are living with diabetes, you need to pay particular attention to your oral health and dental care, as well as controlling your blood glucose levels.
Why do people with diabetes have a greater risk of oral health problems?
People with diabetes who have irregular blood glucose levels have a higher risk of tooth problems and gum disease than people without diabetes. This is because they have lowered resistance to infection and may not heal as easily.
Poor blood glucose control leads to bacteria growth and increases the risk of infections. Dry mouth (not making enough saliva) can also occur when blood glucose levels are high.
Medications for diabetes, blood pressure, heart problems and anti-depressants may cause dry mouth and taste disturbance, such as a metallic taste. Hypo treatments such as sweetened soft drinks and lollies can also lead to tooth decay.
It is important to look after your oral health and control your blood glucose levels to prevent gum disease.
Warnervale Dentals 9 tips to help prevent oral health problems for diabetics:
- CONTROL GLUCOSE LEVELS– Keep blood glucose levels within target (if you are unsure of what your target levels should be, please discuss with your healthcare professional.
- EAT WELL-Follow a healthy diet that is balanced and
- ORAL HYGIENE– Clean your teeth and gums twice a day with toothpaste that contains fluoride. It is also a good idea to gently brush your tongue each day to remove bacteria and keep your mouth fresh and healthy.
- FLOSS-Use dental floss or interdental cleaners every day to clean between your teeth.
- PLENTY OF H20-Avoid a dry mouth by drinking enough water and chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production.
- DON’T SMOKE– smokers are up to 20 times more likely than non-smokers to develop thrush and periodontal disease. Smoking also impairs blood flow to the gums, which might affect wound healing in this tissue area.
- ORAL CARE POST HYPO-If you treat a hypo, it is important to brush your teeth half an hour later to remove sugar from your teeth and prevent decay and cavities
- CLEAN YOUR DENTURES DAILY-even if you wear dentures, you are still at risk of gum disease and need to clean your dentures every day).
- VISIT YOUR DENTIST REGULARLY– Visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings, X-rays, and check-ups. Make sure your dentist knows you have diabetes. See your dentist every six months.
Could you have gum disease?
Please see your dentist immediately if you notice any signs and symptoms of gum disease, including:
- red, swollen, tender, bleeding gums
- a persistent discharge (pus) coming from the gums
- gums that are loose and pull away from the teeth
- a bad taste or bad breath
- loose teeth – this can change the ‘feel’ of your bite when your teeth are placed together or may make dentures fit differently
- spaces opening up between your teeth.
It is imperative that you visit your dentist regularly for advice about how to keep your teeth and gums healthy. The Warnervale Dental team are here to support you and ensure that your oral health is in tip top condition, please remember to inform the team if you have diabetes.